2035 GMT: Mohammad Ebrahim Nekounam, the head of Parliament's Article 90 Commission, has said that the file of 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, accused of involvement in a major insurance fraud, is still under scrutiny by the judiciary.
Entries in Ayatollah Kazem Seddiqi (5)
I was prompted to write this by a question on another website, trying to come to grips with the political conflict inside Iran: "At least several high officials appear to believe Khamenei could simply have 'ordered' Ahmadinejad to retain [Minister of Intelligence Heydar] Moslehi whether Ahmadinejad wanted to or not. If push comes to shove and the President simply stands his ground, the Supreme Leader may simply overrule his decision on a matter that’s plainly within the President’s authority under the constitution?"
Re: “Khamenei could simply have ‘ordered’ Ahmadinejad to retain Moslehi whether Ahmadinejad wanted to or not."
Effectively, that is what the Supreme Leader’s office did, through the letter to Moslehi and through Khamenei’s public statements. The Supreme Leader was supported by the leadership of the Revolutionary Guards (see snap analysis opening today's LiveBlog), by clerics from Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi to Tehran Friday Prayer leader Kazem Seddiqi, by prominent legislators such as Deputy Speaker of Parliament Bahonar and the 90 MPs who called for questioning of Ahmadinejad, and by the judiciary with the arrests of some in Ahmadinejad’s office (including provocative claims such as “sorcery” and “exorcism”).
This power play by the Supreme Leader’s office might have been countered if some of those groups had given support to Ahmadinejad. None of them did, pointing to his narrow (and arguably shrinking) base for power within the establishment.
Three “red lines” have been set down for the President: 1) no more moves over the Ministry of Intelligence; 2) no manipulation of 2012 Parliamentary elections; 3) no anointing of his right-hand man Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai as a successor
1805 GMT: Press Watch. Kamran Najafzadeh, a journalist with state broadcaster IRIB, has been expelled from France. The reason for the expulsion is unknown.
1545 GMT: Tehran Friday Prayers Update. Ayatollah Seddiqi courting controversy in today's Friday Prayer, as he called on Iranian officials and people to try their best and lay the foundation for the country's economic prosperity.
Seddiqi carried out the risky strategy of using exactly the same language deployed by the Supreme Leader on Monday, declaring that the success of "economic jihad" would help solve problems such as addiction and unemployment. He explained that economic hihad is a form of all-out war with the enemy which requires the possession of qualities such as a jihadi spirit and faith as well as the unity of the people with officials and officials with one another.
Seddiqi also revealed that Iran was way better than any other country: “The only miracle of the West was industrial development and progress. This is while presently there is a country like [the] Islamic [Republic of] Iran which possesses science and technology, and also presents its science and technology in a spiritual form."
1715 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Mehdi Yarmohammadi, who worked for Mir Hossein Mousavi, has been sentenced to three years in prison.
1610 GMT: Energy Watch. Iranian officials said natural gas consumption had hit a record high due to cold weather, despite recent subsidy cuts.
Earlier this month, the officials had said consumption had dropped about 5% since the introduction of the cuts.
1545 GMT: Execution Watch. Kurdish detainee Hossein Khezri was executed in Oroumiyeh in northwestern Iran this morning.
Khezri was accused of being a member of the Kurdish insurgent group PJAK. He was arrested in July 2008 and sentenced to death in July 2009 for mohareb (”war against God”) and “endangering state security."
2045 GMT: The Khamenei Road Trip. Fars and Mehr are reporting a big breakthrough for the Supreme Leader: his Friday meeting with clerics included Grand Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani.
No details are given.
1930 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Mahdieh Mohammadi, the wife of detained Iranian journalist Ahmad Zeidabadi, has said that the Ministry of Intelligence has denied her husband a furlough.